Sad news that Ghana has lost its’ president, John Atta Mills, who died suddenly this week. He was widely recognised as a quiet but effective leader, in stark contrast to the brash military commander and former president Jerry Rawlings.
Atta Mills’ death is surprising because he appeared the picture of health last month. Granted, there have long been rumours about his health, fuelled by his recent visit to the US to seek medical treatment. Atta Mills has even gently chastised journalists for suggesting he had actually died, as he did a few weeks ago.
Nevertheless, the suddenness of his passing will inevitably raise many questions. He supposedly died of throat cancer, which was not a condition anyone would have guessed when he met Barack Obama in March.
More puzzling still, Atta Mills was a candidate for re-election in the December poll. Why seek a new term in office, running in an election half a year away, if you are at deaths’ door?
What happens now will be interesting. Jerry Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings were known to have been agitating against Atta Mills for a while. Both husband and wife are possible contenders for the nomination now Atta Mills has passed on.
It’s a great shame. Ghana has boomed under Atta Mills’ leadership, especially its’ oil production. One of Africa’s more impoverished nations is well on the way to becoming a thriving economy. Let’s hope Atta Mills’ rivals weren’t jealously eyeing-up the spoils of Ghana’s success…